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No More OTC Elk In Utah?

Both of the past two seasons Utah’s OTC elk permits have sold out in a matter of hours. This has caused a panic and much grumbling among the citizenry, who heretofore could easily obtain an OTC tag for weeks after they were released. It has also prompted Utah wildlife officials to move the formerly “first come, first serve” elk permits to a drawing format. Uh oh? 

The reason I post that last phrase as a question is I honestly have no idea how the residents of Utah will feel about this “one year trial period” draw system. 

Within that one year, 2022, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will assess the pros and cons of each system before coming to a conclusion that will hopefully fix the woes of customers in the past two seasons. It appears that massive change is on the horizon for Utah elk hunters.

I would love to hear my southwestern neighbor’s opinions on this matter! Don’t hold back. 

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  1. I attend the RAC meetings and have heard the most illogical rational for decreasing the number of LE bull tags! Here goes… Presentation #1 the vast majority of elk are on public land prior to the archery hunt . As archery turns to mzl then any weapon; the elk move to private land. The next presentation was how they figure the number of LE tags for the next year. You guessed it! The size of the bulls harvested on public land! BUT YOU JUST SAID 90% OF THE ELK ARE ON PRIVATE LAND! How is that scientific sampling?????

  2. I dont live in Utah, I am in Oregon and the point creep here is a real thing, the only reason I can ever draw a tag is becasue Oregon does 25% pool tags. The premium elk tags have outpaced my point gathering over the last 7 years. a unit I was hoping to have enough points to draw next year. has gone up an extra 2 point needed now so I am losing ground. Then to add insult to injury ODFW has offered 30% less tags for that Elk unit over a 5 year span. There is no easy answer here. If you live in Utah, please come to the table with ideas and speak up. dont be the guy who says and does nothing and then complains later.

  3. New Mexico has had draw hunts for years ! Some people are lucky and draw regularly. Some don’t !
    I haven’t drawn an elk tag in twelve years ! I don’t know the solution but if you draw this year you can’t put in for the following year or two might be an option ! Also our game dept is funded by license sales which I think is a bad policy ! Our mule deer are in bad shape . It seems to my the main efforts are put into elk ! Darned if you do and darned if you don’t ?

  4. As a n.r. I am so glad i draw a mz pahvant tag this yr. I probably wont apply to utah anymore as being 60 yrs old i doubt i would draw in time to be able to physically hunt. Utah gives too many tags to organizations for auctions and that makes odds substantially worse for tags in the draw

  5. Public sentiment among Utah hunters is strongly AGAINST going to a draw for the general elk hunts. I attended the Central RAC meeting and 82% of comments received were against the draw proposal. I have heard that other RACs have been similar in this regard. In the Central RAC, the recommendation was to instead go to allow unlimited tags on “Any Bull” units. While this would make general season elk harder to hunt due to added pressure, the data shows that the any bull units could support this without cratering the population (most any bull units are either heavily private or “thick and deep” stuff that makes accessing the animals difficult).

    This was the exact recommendation that was sent to the Utah Wildlife Board last year (unlimited tags), but they shot it down. It remains to be seen if they will listen to us this year…

  6. If you read the comments section you would know that most Utahns are against this. The real problem is how they’ve implemented the 3 season elk tag. 2 years ago they started offering a 3 season tag if you bought one of these tags it came out of the general elk tag allotment. So what happened is you had a bunch of hunters that normally bought an archery tag(different tag allotment) now buying from the general tag allotment creating a greater demand on those limited number of general elk tags. There are a few different ways to fix the issue however it seems the dwr isn’t considering any of them. You could put a lower cap on the number of 3 season tags, put the 3 season tags into a draw or get rid of the 3 season tag altogether. The option they’ve presented of putting all tags into a draw seams like a big mistake and the wrong direction most Utahns want to see. Unfortunately it appears the dwr is only interested in options that would increase revenue and not fix the problem.

  7. I hate to sound negative here, but it sure seems like the number of new hunters is greatly outpacing the supply of animals to hunt and public land to hunt on. My last elk hunt at Duechesne was like hunting in downtown LA, traffic jams and all. People everywhere on every kind of off road vehicle you can imagine. Had the same experience one a deer hunt at Panguitch a couple of years ago. Us old timers better get used to greater demand and lesser supply as the hunting population grows. With the TV shows and Youtube, anyone and everyone can hunt successfully, and they do.

  8. Can we find a better way to discourage hunting in Utah? I haven’t had an OTC tag in 3 years thanks to this issue. The entire deer hunt is already draw and only. Trying to introduce new hunters to the sport is getting impossible.

    The DWR is killing hunting intest in Utah! Now that Utah has the strongest job market in the country it’s just a matter of time before those influences from new residents kill the hunting lifestyle. Welcome to Colorado 2.0.

    Come on DWR it’s time to get really creative. Insuring youth hunters have tags will not be enough to keep hunting from imploding in the state. You have to keep the experience hunters in the field. How about instead of heavily hunting cow elk on the north slope you work with Wyoming to manage the heard for larger numbers along with some other parts of the state?

  9. Demand may not be the only issue to consider. Might want to start with how tag numbers are set for general hunts in the first place. Given the fact that harvest reporting is voluntary for general hunts in Utah, is there a sense of confidence in how the numbers are set?

    There could be a chance that general units are either being over harvested, could accommodate more tags or the numbers are right. Any of these scenarios, might require change, but it all begins with good data. Demand is an issue for most western states. Let’s just hope the issue forces a broader discussion in finding a balanced solution.

    Arizona is facing a similar issue with OTC archery deer tags with three solutions to consider: https://www.azgfd.com/media/tv/publicforumvideo/

  10. If you think it is bad now just wait for the wolves to be released in Colorado. They will soon find there way to Utah and eat your Elk and Deer. Then there will be even less tags. People really need to stand up against this. I have proposed that if they have to release them to spay and neuter them so we can control the numbers. We all know the liberals of Colorado just want no hunting period. This is the back door to getting this done. Sorry Utah.

  11. I know that this is not on point with the draw issue but it has an impact on the OTC tag issue.
    The dedicated “youth hunt” has as much to do with the success rates elk numbers on public land in my opinion. I hunt elk on the south slope and am of the opinion that having the youth hunt 1-2 weeks before the general has contributed to the elk moving to the private land that much sooner. Also it seems to me that for it creates a choice for the average Joe of wither participating in the “adult” hunt or taking the kids on the youth hunt. Most of us do not have unlimited time off or the extra money for both. What tag pool do the youth hunts pull from?

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